Spurs v Fulham: The Report.
All together now...Head, Shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes. Yep, 3 goals, a header, a foot, and a knee.
Well, here we are then, the last four fixtures. Four supposedly very winnable games, a chance to match our best Premier League points return of 72 points achieved last season. Seems kind of weird saying that when considering all the distraction and mediocre performances this season.
Anyway, Fulham at home. I suppose I'd better start with 'the Tweet.' Sandro tweeted prior to the team announcement that he would not be playing, although he was not injured. Tim's reply post match was that Sandro was not currently good enough to warrant a place, therefore not included. I am only going to touch on this, I'm sure there will be or has been plenty of fallout.
Now the way I see it, whilst I understand Tim's idea that an out and out DMer may not be required, relying on all round CMer types to do a little of everything, Is that Chadli?, he is not a CMer. This one move by Tim points to there being more to this than Sandro's footballing ability. Add to this, Tim's ability to retain certain players irrespective of mediocre performances and drop others and I start to find myself wondering is he more about if your face fits as opposed to ability.
3rd game in a row saw Chadli and Paulinho in CM, same as the last two games, average performance resulting in us being dominated in Midfield. Maybe a Sandro type is exactly what is needed, only had to look how shaky our backline was once more to realise a bit of grit ahead was required. Fryers who has played only a handful of times as CB, and Paulinho and Chadli to shield. Sorry, not for me, makes no sense. Fine if Tim chooses this formation, just feel it was a clear case of at least one wrong CMer selection.
For the record, I am a firm believer in a DMer allowing attacking types to concentrate solely on exactly that, attack. A bit of this, a bit of that adds up to, well a bit. Some may argue we do not need a DMer against the like's of Fulham. I disagree, why would a DMer stop us attacking?, for me it allows us the freedom to attack safe in the knowledge that a true bruiser is in behind mopping up.
Lloris...Great game, one of his best for a while. Few smart, quick reaction saves, palm over the bar and a penalty save to boot. Add to this shutting Rodallega out early doors and he again showed his class. Naughton...average, sorry, seen better, and needs to be better if to be a top RB. Kaboul...Very shaky, poor decision making at times, couple of good interceptions, one great tackle but as a result of his error in the first place. 'nearly back to your best' you say. Not yet Younes, not yet. Nicely controlled goal via his knee.
Having only played a few cameo roles for Man Utd at CB, I was interested to see how Fryers would pan out playing LCB in this match. Again, shaky springs to mind, positioned himself well a couple of times, but also put himself in trouble of danger a couple of times. I'll go easy, he had little protection, same as Kaboul, and to be fair he has only a handful of appearances in this role under his belt. Rose... (here it comes), I thought he actually had a better game than usual, not outstanding, but a little more reined in than usual.
Lennon...again helped out defensively, ballooned a volley way over, connected with another that was pushed smartly onto the post by Stockdale, and wait for it........Crossed for a goal. Not any old cross my dear friends, a bloody Left one. All this time, I've worked it out. He's Left footed. Paulinho and Chadli...As discussed, Chadli is no CMer, hard to comment, Paulinho, not strong enough in the first half, improved second. Ghosted in well at back post for his goal. I would like to see him take the game by the scruff a whole lot more. Our best work first half came when we actually bothered to chase the ball down, Paulinho being a prime example on Hangeland. A few others got involved and the result was Fulham hurrying into passes that were over hit and straight into the awaiting Lloris' arms. Prior to this Fulham were carving us open through the middle because we weren't shutting them down quick enough.
Eriksen...Yet again MOTM. Those deliveries, absolute top draw. (although he stated the second for kaboul's goal was a shot) He keeps the game flowing in the final 3rd, I just wish we had another in this mold further back who could shackle opponents also. We may have in Capoue. Will we see?. One thing is for sure. We must do our utmost to keep Eriksen. Ade...Kept dropping off looking for the ball, again same as last match, not his most effective. For me, Soldado should have come on sooner.
Harry Kane...Well done once more young man. 3 in 3. Danny boy will be rubbing his hands in sheer delight, 'What d'ya mean we need a striker, we've young Harry Kane.' Genuinely pleased for the lad, took a fair bit of flak without ever getting a run in the first team. Pleased he's been given the chance to show what he can do. Not a World beater as of yet, but 3 in 3 is a mighty fine way to get up and running.
Can't really comment too much on the subs input, not too much time to make a difference. Nice to see Soldado celebrating Harry's goal on the bench however. On the note of substitutions, when wishing to close a game out to secure the 3 points, would we not have been more sensible to shore up the Midfield and play one up top?. Just a thought. Would not have to sit deep and bring them on if correct players utilised.
Anyway, bit of a strange game again for me. Of course happy with the 3 points, but still feel unsure about the performance. A game of two differing halves once more. It's been a weird season, still in a position to equal our best points in Prem return, but still questioning how can this be. For me, yet another scoreline that does not paint the whole picture, so many of these games this season. Nice to hear the fans in full voice yet again, still somewhat disappointed that once more the performance was not exceptional and we have more player disharmony. We really could have something wonderful, but I am starting to feel that we are quickly becoming our own worst enemy once more.
Written by Cider Spurs.